Nova Scotia’s eastern shore is a place of nature at its most raw and beautiful. Still remote, the region is best experienced via a trip to a #Destination Hotel, like the Liscombe Lodge on the shores of the LLiscombRiver. Here the focus is on natural play, making it the perfect spot for activities from canoeing to kayaking to my personal favorite, hiking.

Activities

The lodge has about 10 miles of hiking trails to play around on its property. These can be done without a guide, but signing up for a guided hike lets you learn about the nature in this part of Nova Scotia as you climb and descend. I meet up with my guide, Lori, for a challenging trek along the Liscombe River Trail.

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The 6-mile loop trail follows the Liscombe River, passing thru a lush landscape with old man’s beard, evergreen canopies moss and fir. Pops of color are added with mayflowers and bunchberries. Along the way, we pass different fishing pools, like Long Lake, Hemlock and Watergate. The trail is rated difficult, not for steepness, but for ruggedness. The hiking surface is over rocks, though mud and narrow areas where you have to step over tree stumps and roots. At the half waypoint, a suspension bridge is reached. It overlooks a waterfall and a fish ladder that was once used to help restock Atlantic salmon. My guide told me the ladder replaced a hydro dam to help restock Atlantic salmon, but the numbers are still down because of the effect of acid rain.

Another favorite trail I did at the Liscombe Lodge was the Mayflower Trail, which is just under 2 miles .

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It was also a rugged coastal hike winding along the mouth of the Liscombe River and through a thick natural forest. At certain points, my shoes became completely submerged in mud and during others I had to step over large roots and rocks. Along the way I kept my eye out for the colorful ties that lodge employees hung along trees to mark the trail. My favorite part of the loop was the section heading back to the lodge, which followed along the water where I could see boats cruising along the glassy water and birds playing along the water looking for their next meal.

Hiking is far from the only way to play in nature here. Another excursion I highly recommend is taking a one-hour pontoon boat ride with Chester, who has been steering cruises for the lodge for the past 42-years. But his family history reaches back even farther: his father helped build the chalets at the lodge in the 1960s. The cruise follows the Liscombe River towards the Harbor, which eventually meets up with the Atlantic Ocean.

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During the 5-mile journey, Chester talks about the history of the area and shares folklore, which we enjoy along with our picnic lunch that includes a delicious beer from Shelburne, Nova Scotia called Hunky Dory. It is made with green tea, honey, orange and lemon zest. There are four tour options daily starting in the afternoon running to the evening.

Eating

After a long day of play in the great outdoors, you will likely be quite hungry! For dinner, head to the Liscombe Lodge’s Riverside Dining Room, which features floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the river and is a prime spot for bird watching. Here, the star of the show is the planked salmon, a tradition from Nova Scotia’s native Mi’kmaq people. The fish is cooked on wooden planks at the edge of an outdoor fireplace, where it’s basted with hot butter and maple syrup. Other fish like mussels, a seafood chowder and lobster can be ordered as well as chicken, ribs and steak and vegetarian options for non-seafood eaters.

If you want a bespoke dining experience ask about the Cook'm Crack'm and Eat'm Lobster Dinner when you book at Liscombe Lodge. Ryan, the dining room supervisor, works as a lobster fisherman during the season and takes guests through the whole process, from boil to cracking. We started by twisting off the tail, then moved on to the claws before using different tools to crack and another to pry all the meat out. The dinner is then served on silver platters with coleslaw, potato salad and a Nova Scotia wine.